Friday, August 31, 2012

We Will All Go To Heaven

             This morning I found myself thinking about all the various religions and beliefs that are out in our world today. I have, over the years, had people tell me that they are a Christian, but after getting to know them, and observing their walks, I have backed away with the knowledge that what they believe does not line up with the Word of God. I have been drawn in by some of these people as well, believing them to be like me, a part of God’s family, but found out too late that they were not and all I gained out of it was a hurt heart. I am not writing this blog today to start a debate on what is right and wrong, what is Christian and what is not. I am writing this to give you all a tool, a way to discern if those who say they are Christians are truly your brothers and sisters in the Lord.
                I am not here to judge where you are at in your walk with the Lord, I am not here to tell you that you are not a Christian, and that you believe wrong. What I am here to tell you today is to be wary of those who may unknowingly deceive you. Jesus tells us that we “will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16) When someone tells me that they are a Christian, I begin to look at their life and determine if the fruit that they are bearing is good and true or if it is not. I do not judge their motives or their actions, I only observe their fruit- what God says a Christian is to look like. I hold all that I observe and hear from them to the light of God’s Word, and determine then if they are in line with what He says is right.
Many people will tell me that they believe in God because they go to church every Sunday, and that is why they are going to heaven. As I speak with them, I begin to ask questions about what exactly they believe. In all the years I have been reading my bible and studying God’s word, I have yet to find anywhere that it says going to Church gets me to heaven. God’s word says that the only way to get to heaven is through Jesus Christ, by having a personal relationship with Him. We must accept that we are all sinners and in need of a Savior, we must believe that He died on the cross for our sins and that He was raised from the dead on the third day. We must believe and live a life that is acceptable to God. We must have a constant, ongoing, day to day relationship with Jesus. Church doesn’t save you- only Jesus can do that. Jesus said that many people will be standing before Him on that great Day of Judgment, and they will say to Him, “Lord, Lord, did we not do all these things in your name.” Jesus will reply to them, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23)
To get to heaven there is but one way, and I want to encourage you to take some time today and read Matthew 7.  He will show you that it is only through a personal relationship with Jesus that you can be saved. I have had people tell me that they are pretty good people and God wants everyone to go to heaven, so He won’t turn them away. He will let them into heaven because their good outweighs their bad. That unfortunately is a false teaching. One sin will cause us to be cast into outer darkness. We have a holy God who cannot dwell with sin. The only way that we can be “sinless” is to be covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, there is but one way that man can be saved, and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross. We cannot get to heaven because we are good people, because we have done good things, because we have served faithfully in our church for 20 years. He wants a relationship with you, not based on what you can do or have done, but because of what He did. As Jesus hung up on the cross He said, “It is finished.” God finished the work of salvation upon the cross; do you honestly think you can add to that by doing “good deeds”?
Beware, my sisters, for there are many wolves in sheep clothing that will try to get you caught up into works instead of the work that Christ has accomplished for you. Beware lest you fall into the same trap that many others have followed. You may be asking then, how do you know? How do we know who is true and who is false? We do what the Bereans did- we search the scriptures daily to see if these things are true or false. We are not called to judge the person, we are asked to simply look at the fruit that is being presented and hold it up to the light of God’s word, determining if it is right or false.
Acts 17:11 tells us that the Bereans searched the scriptures daily, they listened to Paul and Silas teach about Christ, but they went and sought out for themselves if what they were hearing was truth or false. Just because someone tells me they are a Christian, doesn’t mean that I immediately accept them as such. I get to know them, I spend time with them, I find out where they are in their walks with Jesus. Some are new believers, some are coming back to Christ after being gone for awhile, and some, unfortunately, are not who they say they are. But I can determine this because I compare and hold up everything to the light of God’s word. He will show you, and He will direct you in the way that you need to proceed with others. If they are false, I won’t seek to have a relationship with them. If they are young or misdirected, then I will continue to study God’s word and follow His leading in regards to my relationship with them.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we are to “Be diligent to present {ourselves} approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The more time we spend with Jesus every day, the more we understand the difference between “good fruit trees” and “bad fruit trees” and the more prepared we will be when those false teachings come before us. I have been led astray before, and it hurts, I can tell you. Not only have I been hurt by someone who told me they were a Christian and were not, but I have been caused to be put to shame as well by their deeds and actions. We must guard ourselves, sisters; we must guard ourselves against those who say they are Christians and are not.
Do not be deceived my sisters, there will come a day when we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will all answer for our own lives. I will not be there with you- you will not be there with me. But it will be just you and Him, we will bow our knees and proclaim that Jesus is Lord and He is King, forever and ever. We can make the choice to do it now, here on earth and have a relationship with Him, or we can wait until we get up there. (Trust me, do it now, you won’t like the consequences for not accepting Him here when you had the chance.)
If you gained anything from my blog post today, I pray you gained this simple truth- there is no other name by which we can be saved than Jesus Christ. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please do it now. If you have been deceived into believing some other false lies, go and ask the Lord Jesus to forgive you and ask Him to show you His truth. We will all go to heaven, some of us will get to stay, but the rest of us will have to leave. The choice is yours, today is the day. Make the decision to make Jesus Christ the center of your day, your life, your eternity.
Lord Jesus, I ask that you would draw the hearts of those who have not yet received You as their Lord and Savior. Lord Jesus, save us from false teachings which draw us away from you. Lord Jesus, let our lives be an example to others, as they see You and only You in all that we say and do. Lord Jesus, be with us today, guard us from those who seek to deceive us, and lead us in the way of everlasting life. In Jesus Name, Amen.